A group of nursing students from Bay De Noc West has been doing a class project about domestic violence. They are collecting donations for Caring House, they have given a presentation at the college along with advocate Marti Swisher, and they put together a short video about domestic violence. This wonderful group of students has done a great job and we are very excited to have partnered with them.
If you would like to view the video it has been published on the Caring House Facebook page.
We in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, live in small communities which we think of as fairly safe. Most of us in no way think there is human trafficking going on in our communities. We are wrong. This is not a tragedy that’s happening in another country or state. According to a 2015 quote by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Human trafficking is “a growing problem in every county and community in Michigan”. Michigan as a whole is one of the top five states in the country where trafficking is exploding. Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
The first ever reported case of human trafficking in Michigan was in a tiny town in the Upper Peninsula, director of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force Jane White said. This past year saw a case of human trafficking prosecuted in Dickinson County. Human traffickers are drawn to rural areas and small towns. There is often a smaller police presence and isolated areas, and these criminals feel they have much less chance of getting caught.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery involving the illegal trade of people for exploitation or commercial gain. The most common form in the United States is commercial sex.
Indicators of Human Trafficking
Recognizing key indicators of human trafficking is the first step in identifying victims and can help save a life. Here are some common indicators to help recognize human trafficking:
- Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
- Has a child stopped attending school?
- Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
- Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
- Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
- Is the person accompanied by someone who insists on telling a story all the time…they are a student, they are a tourist, they are here on a visa and there are a lot of inconsistencies.
- Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
- Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
- Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
- Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
- Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
- Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
- Does the person lack access to personal identification documents?
- Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
- Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?
Not all indicators listed above are present in every human trafficking situation, and the presence or absence of any of the indicators is not necessarily proof of human trafficking. For your safety and the safety of possible victims, do not confront someone you suspect may be a human trafficker or a victim, report the information you have to the police.
Traffickers look for vulnerable people. People who are emotionally or psychologically at risk, people who are economically at risk, and people who are isolated. Trafficking victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Trafficking victims can be men or women, young or old, American or from abroad, with or without legal status. Sometimes these criminals have specific victim requests by their clients…example, blond haired, blue eyed boy around 12 years old. They use threats, force and false promises to lure their victims in.
Human trafficking is usually a hidden crime. The victims don’t come forward because they are afraid of their traffickers or even law enforcement. The trauma caused by the traffickers can be so great that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.
That’s right…it’s that time again. It’s time to eat great food, laugh until your stomach hurts, and win some awesome prizes.
Silent auction, 50/50 drawings, raffle prizes and door prizes
This year’s event will be held Thursday October 30, 2014
At the First Presbyterian Church in Kingsford
5PM to 8PM
$6 Each/ Children 5 & Under FREE!
Please join us for this annual event. You won’t be sorry. Our attendees love it and come back year after year.
On a serious note, by attending, you help to bring awareness to this tragedy in our community.
Have you taken a ride past the First Covenant Church on H Street in Iron Mountain, MI? Each cross you see displayed out in front represents one person from the Upper Peninsula who was killed in a Domestic Violence situation. Who will the next cross represent? Will it be your sister or brother? Your neighbor? A favorite teacher at the school? Your doctor’s wife? It could be anyone! You can’t tell if someone is a victim by looking at them. They look like me or you. Wounds aren’t always visible. Victims are very, very good at pretending everything is ok.
Are you aware of the Domestic Violence in this world? Do you care? Every football fan in the United States should know…watch the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife. Listen to sports personnel talk about how hundreds of cases of Domestic Violence have been covered up. We all think that good old guy we know couldn’t do such a thing, why he’s a great guy and fun to be around (unless he comes home to you each night). Each and every one of us should be more aware. Abusers get away with it because they can. Nobody wants to get involved. If you see something or hear something that you think may be abuse call the police, that’s the only way this will end. Don’t keep SILENT!!! We need everyone to make abusers accountable for their actions.
One way you can help is to come out to our annual “Break the Silence, Stop the Violence” procession, if you are able. We will meet at The Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department between noon & 12:15 on Tuesday October 14th. This year we will be joined by the MI Bikers Helping Veterans Motorcycle group, followed by area law enforcement with sirens blaring, followed by cars honking their horns. If you can drive or ride in a car and honk a horn you can join us. The procession will proceed to Caring House where refreshments will be served. We need YOU!!
Let’s make some changes and shake up this county, so we can shake up this state, so we can shake up our country and shake up the world. Let’s make this world a safer place.
Domestic violence thrives when we are silent; but if we take a stand and work together, we can end it. Throughout the month of October, Caring House will be hosting awareness activities and encourages your participation.
- Cross Display-First Covenant Church on “H” Street in Iron Mountain. Dedication of the crosses will be at 8:00 AM on September 30th.
- Break the Silence-October 8th at 12:00 Noon-Meet at the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department-Procession from the Sheriff’s Department to Caring House-Open House at Caring House 12:30 PM to 4:00 PM.
- Celebrity Waiter’s Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction-October 24th, First Presbyterian Church 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
- Paint the City Purple-Local businesses will be displaying purple ribbons
- Purple Ribbon Campaign-wear a purple ribbon to demonstrate your support towards ending the violence. Ribbons can be picked up at Caring House.
Some interesting facts about domestic violence:
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- An estimated 1.3 million are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
On May 18th, 2013 Caring House held the second annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event in Norway, MI to raise awareness and funding for the victims of domestic and sexual violence.
Just as it’s uncomfortable for these brave men to be walking in women’s shoes, it’s also uncomfortable, at the very least, to live in a situation where you are afraid or have been assaulted. We are so grateful to the men who were willing to make a difference.
Here are some pictures of this event: